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Top 5 Characteristics of Ideal Employees

Ms. Inglish is a successful Employment & Training pro, setting Midwest regional records with tens of thousands placed in gainful employment.

Learn about some of the in-demand characteristics that employers are seeking in their employees.

Learn about some of the in-demand characteristics that employers are seeking in their employees.

Characteristics of the Ideal Employee

The following characteristics in employees and management personnel help to ensure a smoothly operating business. In turn, this smooth operation produces larger amounts of higher quality goods and services as well as greater employee satisfaction.

The top characteristics that I have found in demand among employers looking for new workers include the following list. It is derived from employer input gathered during a decade of workforce development, training, and job placement activities in a densely populated 17-county area, among adults and youth job seekers.

  1. Dependability
  2. Honesty and Integrity
  3. Positive, Proactive Attitude
  4. Willing to Work
  5. Uses Down Time Productively
Good workers and good employers often find each other!

Good workers and good employers often find each other!

1. Dependability

Management, executive staff, and corporate HR teams see Dependability defined by the following positive qualities, often discussed in Work Readiness classes:

  1. Consistently Stable in Mood at Work - The employer, the coworkers, and the customers know what to expect and trust the employee.
  2. Always Follows Directions - Also willing to learn new tasks, new methods of working, and new company updates and apply them.
  3. Consistently Accurate
  4. Works Independently
  5. Gets Along with Peers, Management, Executive Staff, and Clients or Customers
  6. Maintains Good Grooming and Hygiene, according to general rules and company policies.
  7. Always On Time to Work and returns promptly from breaks.
  8. Maintains Good Attendance - Does not take off all their sick time just because they have unused sick days. Calls in early when ill and in emergencies when needing time off.
  9. Cooperative, but asks good Questions, and offers Suggestions when appropriate.
  10. Shows a Proactive and Interested Attitude
  11. Works as a Team Player
President Abraham Lincoln, a popular icon of honesty, found on Mount Rushmore.

President Abraham Lincoln, a popular icon of honesty, found on Mount Rushmore.

2. Honesty and Integrity

This is more than just telling the truth. It includes doing your best work for your work team, your company and your boss. Holding back because one is afraid of working more than others and not be rewarded for it is an immature belief; such an employee needs to sit down with the supervisor or boss and ask about the chances for advancement and raises and how to accomplish them.

The action of doing as little as possible while others make up the difference is not a likeable personality trait at work, at home, or anywhere else. Remember that many founding colonies and new nations began by leaders telling their settlers, "He who does not work, does not eat." Such an employee will make enemies of coworkers and also not be promoted. In addition, this negative trait will definitely show up as a problem on annual performance reviews.

Examples of dishonesty and lack of integrity:

  • Working more slowly than the standard pace.
  • Working quickly and haphazardly, creating errors.
  • Doing coworkers' work for them in order to buy friendship.
  • Having coworkers clock in for them when late. This is usually illegal as well.
  • Pilfering work-related supplies and equipment.
  • Extending breaks and rest room visits to waste time.
  • Completing personal tasks on the job, using company equipment and supplies, including the telephone and Internet.

3. Proactive, Positive Attitude

Attitudes project your beliefs and values, and what you think of your job, coworkers and boss. It is shown in the quality of your work. The boss is aware of your individual attitudes at work and is watching them every day. They are as important as the work that you produce.

A "positive" attitude does not always mean "happy" - but, it is better to be upbeat at work rather than brooding and angry, "Positive" can also mean proactive, which means you go after things and don't wait for them to come to you (using initiative).

Proactive: Good Attitudes

  • Smiles
  • Good posture
  • Pleasant tone of voice
  • Complaining through proper channels, while offering ideas for improvement.
  • Respect and courtesy
  • Managing conflict and anger
  • Good job performance
  • Interested in others

Not Proactive: Bad Attitudes

  • Blank facial expression or a frown
  • Slumping in chairs, leaning on walls
  • Sarcasm, unmodulated voice, mumbling
  • Complaining on the work floor
  • Trash talking about the company to coworkers; enabling bad attitudes among others
  • Displaying anger inappropriately
  • Substandard job performance
  • Ignoring people at work

Good attitudes help get you promoted, make friends, please customers and raise sales. Good attitudes increase your value to your company.

Classic Miscommunciation

4. Willing to Work

You show your willingness to work with these qualities:

  1. Ability and Desire to Communicate - Organizing and present your thoughts clearly.
  2. Intelligence - Showing common sense and the ability and desire to learn.
  3. Self-Confidence - Showing assertiveness and initiative.
  4. Accepting Responsibility - Takes on new challenges, admits mistakes and fixes them.
  5. Leadership - Being a good example, taking charge.
  6. High Energy Level.
  7. Imagination.
  8. Flexibility - Adaptable, accepts changes.
  9. Gets along with others.
  10. Handles Conflict
  11. Sets and Achieves Goals - Continuous improvement. Has personal direction,
  12. Occupational Skills - Able to do the job and accept new training.

5. Uses Down Time Productively

When you are not busy at work, or between major projects, be productive by doing these things:

  1. Read trade journals and magazine articles about your company and the industry in which you work.
  2. Read about current trends in your industry on the Internet.
  3. Ask for, or find, new tasks to do; help someone else.
  4. Think of a better way to do something in your job or in the company.
  5. Clean and organize your work area.
  6. Update your filing systems, clean out old email messages, etc.
  7. Write an article about your job or your industry and share it with your boss.
  8. Take an online class that is relevant to your job. Some of these are free of charge.

What Is Your Best New Strength?

Employers may also look for attributes like a sense of humor, community engagement, and even how professionally you're dressed.

Employers may also look for attributes like a sense of humor, community engagement, and even how professionally you're dressed.

Five Great Additional Tips for Hiring in the 2010s

In a nationwide survey with diverse employers in 2013, YahooFinance tells us that the following additional Top 5 Qualities also impress an HR representative or other interviewing staff person enough to help you to be hired over other job candidates:

  1. Best Sense of Humor
  2. Most Involved in the Community - Community activities, volunteering, political involvement.
  3. Best Dressed
  4. Has Most In Common with the Interviewer
  5. Most Physically Fit*

*It has also been stated many times by employers and industrial psychologists with whom I have spoken that taller individuals are seen in a more positive light than are shorter individuals during the application process, employment interviews, work reviews, wage and raise negotiations, and opportunities for promotion.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: In your own experience, between the old and new "best qualities" of ideal employees, which do you see as the most important now?

Answer: When I hire an employee, I want one that shows up on time and does consistent good work while always looking to improve. He or she should be willing to contribute effective ideas for company and individual growth without being a showoff or smart aleck. They should also have a good sense of humor (without profanity) while keeping good manners.

Question: What is "punctuality" and is the definition the same for workers in all industries?

Answer: My state is an at-will employment state, so workers can be fired for any reason or no reason at all. This makes it vital to find out your own employer's or future boss's rules for punctuality. Some companies adhere to "Vince Lombardi Time" started by a famous football coach, meaning 15 minutes early is on time and any later is simply late. I know a handful of companies that require workers to arrive 30 minutes early and check their work stations during that unpaid time. Still, other companies feel that being 15 minutes late to work is fine. Some other employers offer flex time that provides an hour leeway at the start and end of each day, as long as the worker completes a full eight-hour shift. At the end of the workday, some employers will "write up" employees who leave even one minute early. All this makes it important to learn what your own company's rules are.

© 2007 Patty Inglish MS

Comments

Emmanuel B on September 12, 2019:

This is most helpful for students.

Lackey Fresman Carer prep 2019-2020

MCG on September 12, 2019:

This will make the future great for students.

Edwin on September 04, 2019:

Future students read this. Tarrant 2019-2020

Jaydon on August 10, 2018:

Thanks Patty

hannibal on February 21, 2018:

thanks patty

kk on January 23, 2018:

thanks patty

anamil on January 22, 2018:

thanks patty

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 30, 2017:

Many thanks to your class for reading and discussing this material. Much of it should be useful in the near future. Much success to you!

Hai on August 30, 2017:

Mr. Bowerman's class 2017-2018! xD

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 17, 2017:

Thanks to all the students who are reading this page! Our teachers should have given us this information before we left high school, but no one thought much about it in the 1970s.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on April 10, 2017:

@NerdGirl - You bring up a good point that employers as well as employees need to understand what worker characteristics will result in the best productivity and worker satisfaction. Everyone can benefit from the useful information. Thanks for reading and commenting!

NerdGirl24 on April 10, 2017:

This is a very cool website and very helpful. I can now know what to look for in an employee and it will be easier for me to choose them and so I can trust that they will work and not play around and sleep. I would also know they would do what they are suppose to do and not make me fire them and have them be on my team and so we can sometimes have fun and always be happy and proud I had chose them. I am very happy I found this site and listened to it and I will always read what it has to say and I will always look for these characteristics in any employee I want to hire or have them just be my assistant. People are very nice because they made this site.

LCHS student on October 07, 2016:

this was a very good page for info for an assignment in class thx :D

Tanner Nelson on September 08, 2016:

i really injoyed this artical because it really tell the truth about surtain thing

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 01, 2016:

Hello, Cordale and Class of 2016 - 2017!

I hope some of this information proves of good use to you in the coming years. Right now, it is exciting to think about the new types of jobs emerging, especially in aerospace, aviation, and technology. Have fun!

Cordale Bragg on September 01, 2016:

Mrs. Coleman's Class 2016-2017

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 24, 2016:

I think these ideas can help youth and adults alike in the job market these days. As you graduate from schools and start working, you will likely find additional Ideal Characteristics to add the the list as jobs change - especial in space exploration and information technology. Best of success to you all!

*annoynomus* on August 24, 2016:

besides this being quite informative, I am honestly surprised that Patty Lnglish is still chatting about peoples questions and responses after 8 years :O

maxamim power on August 24, 2016:

i did not read this yet but it already looks interesting and look at how many comments there are i hope this helps me for when i get a job next year.

cj on February 16, 2016:

this was really good

LAMIN on February 11, 2016:

So inspirational

jon on February 11, 2016:

thank you

odell on February 08, 2016:

thank you

we on February 03, 2016:

my students love it

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 27, 2016:

@Logan - Thank you for reading and commenting! I hope this article continues to help job seekers, no matter what their age!

Logan C on January 27, 2016:

This will help you in your career. This was a very successful site. Everybody should read this carefully and every Teacher should keep in mind this website to help their students.

Hi on December 14, 2015:

Thank you, this was very helpful.

greeneyedblondie on December 05, 2015:

Interesting.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 17, 2015:

Much success to you in whatever you do! Any questions I can answer, just ask here. Cheers!

16 on September 17, 2015:

you know patty you are so inspirational if i could i would read article that you write all day but unfortunately i am at school and i cant do that but i did want to thank you for what you write.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 16, 2015:

@16 - Living with your own family can be difficult, no matter how old or young you are, but effective honest communication is important. Respect for one another is also important and parents must respect children as well as children respect parents. Consistent rules and guidelines and rewards/consequences from parents are vitally important. Yes, stay out of trouble at school - sometimes a school is full of such troubles \. Ask adults for help - do not hesitate.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 16, 2015:

@16 - You are welcome and I am happy that this article helped you. If you have questions, just ask here.

16 on September 16, 2015:

You know I just read a really good article and I think I could apply that not only to work but to school and home to if I were to do some of the things on there maybe me and my brother will not fight as much as we do and then maybe we can get along and sit in the same room for more than five mins. Not only that but maybe if I could show this to him then we would not disrespect our mom as much and then everything would be better. https://toughnickel.com/business/Top_5_Characteris...

I want every one that has 10-15 mins. On their hands that are reading what I have wrote to day I want you to go read that then this will make more sense.

God determines who walks into your life…..It’s up to you to decide who you let walk away, who you let stay, and who you refuse to let go.

You know that can go for a lot of thing but I don’t know how to explain all of them to you so I will tell you some of them. One would to be about your family don’t disrespect your momma and you only have your brother for so long don’t loss him before you even have him same for your sister and stay out of trouble the more trouble you get into the more stress you are putting on your family and that is not a good thing because they will be mad at you and you will be mad at them but they didn’t do anything wrong so why be mad exactly.

16 on September 16, 2015:

this page helped me write a poster that i was suppose to do thank you very much for writing this article. Mrs. gargus's class 2015-2016

Mason on September 10, 2015:

True Caden

Caden on September 10, 2015:

Mrs Coffeys Class Rules unter 2015-2016 YEEEEEE YEEEEE

unter on September 03, 2015:

Mrs.Baldwin's class 2015-2016 YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

Fly on the wall on September 03, 2015:

Ms. Baldwin class 2015-2016 yeeet !!!

Big Jacory on September 01, 2015:

Mrs. Coleman's class 2015-2016 Turn up !!!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 01, 2015:

I'm glad you received a good surprise!

golden money on September 01, 2015:

wow my teacher told us to this at first I was bored then I started to read then im amazed amd surprised fre country.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 26, 2015:

Welcome to students in Alabama schools that enjoy this Hub, especially Monroeville, site of the classic stories "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Go Set a Watchman!" You'll find Hubs on those books and many other educational topics as well. Have a fantastic school year, including getting ready for a future job!

cooldusde on August 26, 2015:

were can u found this

treyswagboi300 on August 26, 2015:

its very big

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 13, 2015:

Thank you, Alabama schools.

yr willie on August 13, 2015:

this was a pretty cool lesson

brodie on August 13, 2015:

hi! just wanted to say hey to all my haters out there. whats up my peeps lol! how was your day

Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on February 20, 2015:

Great description of required traits employers are looking for. I do find that the other traits can sometimes have an even greater impact than more common attributes. Anytime you can connect to your boss or supervisor through humor is a plus. It also helps greatly during an interview when they find you charming and likable.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 26, 2015:

Thanks Bob! Maybe you will be promoted to foreman. :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 14, 2015:

It really helps to keep this list in your mind. Thanks for reading!

Ashwini on January 14, 2015:

This is a great list to help keep in mind how to advance in your career.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 14, 2015:

@Theresa Jonathan - I agree and have used those intelligences guidelines ever since they were first published as 13 different types. I have a Hub on them as well!

@bradyg - Congratulations for taking hold of you r own life and future career! Much success to you!

bradyg on January 14, 2015:

I am a 8th grade student. This will really help when I get into the real world and get a job.

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on January 13, 2015:

A very important subject indeed. A holistic career guidance should include learning and discovering what seven intelligence centres mean so that you can identify your make-up. It consits of linguistic, logical, musical, kinesthetic, visual, spatial, intrapersonal and interpersonal. When you know these you will develop your career from the given strength. Take this exercise seriously so that you can run in your lane towards your success

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 13, 2015:

@ham - I hope you find this site useful! The earlier in life you begin to look at these things, the easier it will be to start a good career. Good luck!

ham on January 13, 2015:

I am an 8th grade student in a career prepare class. our teacher assigned us this site to research and study on proper workplace behavior and attire.

Mohammad Tanvir Ibne Amin from Dhaka on December 05, 2014:

Yeah you true said that Dependability,Honesty & Integrity,Positive, Proactive Attitude,Willing to Work,Uses Down Time Productively can lead to you as a great employer of the year. Now a days it is very difficult to find such virtues to any employee.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 27, 2014:

I hope it helps you as it has helped me! Thanks for commenting.

monkey freinds on October 27, 2014:

this will help me when i am older to get a job thank you

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 22, 2014:

@erorantes - Thanks very much for your positive comments. You have made the world a better place already with your good attitudes.

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on October 22, 2014:

Thank you for writing about the five Top characteristics of a good ideal employees. If every person in this world will read and apply your article's characteristics. We will have a perfect working world. We will all leave in peace, and have the best productive working class world. Which means , we will be super rich. I like your hub.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 28, 2014:

Thank you for reading and making a great comment!

muhammad abdullah javed on September 27, 2014:

Hi Inglish. Very interesting and useful hub. Thanks for sharing. The personal attributes mentioned here for an ideal employee are ofcourse of high standards, i am sure seriousness towards these will prove "idealism is a push" not as generally percieved "idealism is a drag". Thanks again.

Reena Dhiman on September 19, 2014:

Hey informative article. I like enjoying it

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on September 08, 2014:

Thanks Patty!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 07, 2014:

Very good observations! employment agencies can help with continuing education and I think they should do so. Some offer court courses on computer literacy and related skills, but soft skills need refreshing often as well.

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on September 06, 2014:

Thank you Patty! Our task therefore is to continue to encourage the behavioral change communication strategies from classrooms to employment agencies.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on September 06, 2014:

@Theresa Jonathan - All of what you say is true and I have seen it happen. Thank you for reminding us of these details!

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on September 06, 2014:

Attitude determine altitude. Negativity is one human resource issues that destroy team work and general consensus at routine staff meetings. A negative person could effectively be an anchor that stops the ship from sailing. Such an employees steal human resource time through counseling and other attempts for positive change. Employees like that are not recommended for promotion in higher position due to their potential capability to halt organizational productivity thorough negative distractions. The challenge is, they tend to see doing good as not growing themselves. Their philosophy of action is doing things that benefit themselves and not others.

celebassistant on September 02, 2014:

Really fabulous article. I especially like the part about being positive. Being optimistic is far and away more important than a "qualified" person with a bad attitude.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 31, 2014:

Thanks for commenting! I think these ideas can give us all something to think about. :)

Ahdilarum on August 30, 2014:

Great tips about development personality in office environment.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 30, 2014:

You're welcome and thanks for reading and commenting!

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on August 30, 2014:

Thanks for affirmation.

naved007 on August 29, 2014:

GREAT KNOWLEGDE FULL SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE

Theresa Jonathan from Maseru, Lesotho on August 28, 2014:

Dependability, Honesty & Integrity are indeed very important attributes of ideal employee. Integrity embraces them all. It is achieving the highest level of self-control in which your values are motivating factors. If parenting could achieve this, we could hope to have a different world in which leaders would rule by this principle; thus realizing the trust that has been endowed upon them to effectively and efficiently manage national wealth.

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on August 21, 2014:

Thanks for reading and I hope the information comes in useful for you!

CoreBenefitz from Loveland, CO on August 21, 2014:

Thank you...for the honest advise.. ! Great article

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 14, 2014:

I hope you kids in the Demopolis Al schools can use this information to find good jobs soon. Best of success to you.

dEE WHITE on January 14, 2014:

Thank you JESUS Hallelujiah DFGVWEYTFGSEYCFGDVSDGBSDGVBDSE

Felicia Davis on January 14, 2014:

Advice IS GREAT!

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on January 14, 2014:

Thanks for the commendations. I hope this Hub helps people secure jobs this year!

AdamsGil on January 14, 2014:

There's just one word for you - Appreciable.

You controlled me to not to escape the article for even a single line. That's how much good work you have done!! Awesome :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 11, 2013:

I hope it comes in useful for you, Hugo!

Hugo Furst from Australia on December 11, 2013:

What a great hub. Thanks for compiling the lists/ writing this piece! Voted up :)

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on December 10, 2013:

Thanks for all your comments and I hope you are able to use some of the material in this article.

Tra'Vonta Smith on December 10, 2013:

This all is very good and intersting. But some people just don't like too read. For those people I wish them the best of luck. But GREAT Article.

12 on December 10, 2013:

it was a wondefull thing to say

Victor Logan from Omaha, NE on November 06, 2013:

Excellent article on how to be a good Hessen.

brandon howard on October 09, 2013:

this stuff is good

zombieslayer9000 on October 09, 2013:

this was zombierific tips

brandon on October 09, 2013:

think you for making this page

cornbread79 on October 09, 2013:

I know I'm only 15 and in the ninth grade and go to WCHS go bulldogs!!!! but I've had more jobs then I can count because I couldn't show up on time because of football practice but this information has really helped me be a better person at work! It has helped me get along better with my boss.

Thanks, Patty Inglish for the information!!!

sincerely, Kyler Deese

wchs student on October 09, 2013:

very useful

WCHS student on October 09, 2013:

Yeah I guess so. Hey Ms. Patty how old are you?

Patty Inglish MS (author) from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on October 09, 2013:

It looks as if some middle and high school students are benefiting from this material. I was not taught a single word of it in school or at home, so I was LOST when I started my first job.

WCHS student on October 08, 2013:

in reply to Patrick Lee Dickey's post: What you are trying to convey in that comment is completely irrelevant. Ron Smith III is only trying to say is though yes, he may have had to do it, but in the end he enjoyed it. So Patrick Lee Dickey, you are very much trying to sound smart in this situation and in my opinion, you really shouldn't. Thank you:)

jiamond on October 08, 2013:

good to know this info

bradlet b on October 08, 2013:

how good is tis

Hannah on October 08, 2013:

This is a great site to read if you're just now starting a business. It teaches you more than just being an "okay" boss. With these tips, you can take charge and gain friendships along the way. Patty Inglish is a genious! :)

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